Volleyball – Libero Dos and Don’ts

libero-dos-and-donts

By Marsha Goodwin

Alibero (LEE’-beh-ro) in indoor volleyball is a back-row defensive specialist. Since the libero only plays back row, those players are often shorter than the front-row blockers and hitters but have impeccable ball-control skills. The libero was created to promote ball-control. When the libero is on the floor, he or she is involved in every serve-receive pattern and is among the primary passers. Liberos are usually quick, agile defenders. When the libero enters the court, he or she replaces a back-row teammate. The term “replacement” is used rather than “substitute” because their exchange does not reflect in a team’s substitution count.

The world first saw the libero in the 1998 FIVB World Championships, and use of that player has now been incorporated into USAV, NCAA and NFHS rules. The three governing bodies have similar libero rules, with USAV now allowing a team to designate two liberos on the roster.

The use of a libero increases the length of rallies because he or she is an outstanding passer, which provides the setter a greater number of accurate, successful passes to run the offense. The libero is not allowed to complete an attack-hit from anywhere on the court or free zone if the ball is completely above the top of the net at the moment of contact. The libero may not block or attempt to block.

All three rule sets allow that in one rotation in the service order, the libero may replace the player in the serving position to serve. The coach must indicate the libero player’s number on the lineup sheet. If no libero is listed on the starting lineup, no libero may be used in that set. The coach may change the libero in subsequent sets. For NFHS and NCAA rules only, the libero may be designated as the floor captain.

In order to be immediately recognizable on the court, the libero wears a different jersey from the rest of the team. The libero’s jersey must be contrasting in color with the other team members’ jerseys and must have a visible legal number on the front and back.

Libero replacements occur across the sideline between the imaginary extensions of the attack line and end line (“libero replacement zone”). They are authorized at the start of each set by the second referee after he or she has checked each team’s lineup. Additional replacements must occur when the ball is out of play and before service authorization. Libero replacements are unlimited and do not count as substitutions. There must be at least one rally between replacements involving the libero, except when the libero on the court will be the next server. In that case, the libero on the court may move directly to the service position without exiting the court for a rally. The original server and the player who was replaced by the libero will exchange in the libero replacement zone in that case.

The only player who can replace the libero is the one whom the libero replaced. Once there has been a replacement, a substitution may take place immediately before the next service beckon. Replacements may not occur during timeouts, but may occur after a timeout has ended. For USAV, if two liberos are used by a team, only one libero may be on the floor at a time.

The libero tracker/assistant scorekeeper records libero replacements and substitutions. The scorekeeper records the libero number on the scoresheet; draws a triangle around the Roman numeral indicating the position in the service order where the libero serves; triangles the point or loss of rally in the individual scoring section (NFHS and NCAA only); and triangles the corresponding point in the running score if the libero’s service results in a point.

When the libero, who is on or in front of the attack line (in the “front zone”), uses overhand finger action to set the ball, a teammate may not complete an attack hit on that ball if the ball is entirely higher than the top of the net. The fault is signaled as an illegal attack, followed by indicating the libero (point toward the libero with an open hand).

If the libero is injured and cannot continue play, a new libero may be redesignated by the coach at any time. Any substitute may be redesignated as the new libero and the former libero may not play in the remainder of the set (remainder of the match in USAV rules). In subsequent sets, if a new libero is listed on the lineup, the former libero may change jerseys and play as a regular player. NCAA and USAV rules require the libero’s uniform number to remain the same whether playing as a libero or a regular player. The libero may not be used as a substitute for expelled or disqualified teammates.

The libero may be used as an exceptional substitution for an injured player if no other substitutes exist; he or she must change into a regular uniform and the team continues with no libero. If the libero is disqualified, he or she must be replaced by the player whom he or she replaced; play continues with no libero.

With the introduction of the libero, defensive control has increased, fostering longer rallies. With the contrasting jersey that sets him or her apart from the other teammates, fans often closely follow this ball-control specialist in spectacular dives, digs and extraordinary passes in getting the ball to the target. As the game evolves, so does the speed of the game, due in great part, to the addition of the libero.

Marsha Goodwin, Cleveland, Tenn., is the state supervisor of officials with the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association. She is a longtime high school and collegiate volleyball referee.

NFHS rules allow the second referee to use a lineup card as a tool for tracking player positions. But even with a lineup card, it can be a challenge, constantly requiring the second referee to look at the card, track servers, identify the front- and back-row players, and to determine if everyone is in legal alignment. NCAA and USA Volleyball rules do not permit the second referee to use a lineup card, so memorization techniques, communication with the scorekeeper and a quick peek at a team’s lineup once in a while have become tools of the trade.

Whatever method the second referee uses for tracking player alignments, it ultimately boils down to one thing: the position of the player’s foot/feet at the moment the ball is hit for service. In the MechaniGram, the back-row players — left back (LB), center back (CB) and right back (RB) — are in good position. Left front is also set. But center front (CF) and right front (RF) are in a position that causes second referees concern and confusion. The culprit: the left foot of the RF player.

From the second referee’s position, it may appear that the RF player’s left foot is even with the CF player’s left foot. Even if that is the case, that is not a concern for the second referee. In fact, the RF player’s left foot can be closer to the left sideline than the CF player! The only issue is that the RF player has at least one part of one foot closer to the right sideline than the corresponding front-row player (CF). That requirement has been met, and no fault has been committed (NFHS 6-4-3b; NCAA 10.3.1.1, 10.3.1.1.1; USAV 7.4.3.2, 7.4.3).

Front-row players must have a portion of at least one foot closer to the center line than their corresponding back-row teammate (LF-LB, CF-CB, RF-RB). Right-side players must have at least one part of one foot closer to the right sideline than their adjacent teammate (RF-CF, RB-CB), and left-side players must meet the same requirement with respect to the left sideline (LF-CF, LB-CB). The rules don’t require that the back-row players be closer to the endline than the corresponding front-row player.

Brian Hemelgarn is Referee’s volleyball coordinator. He officiates at the college and international levels.

Referee Magazine(This article was published in the 09/13 issue of Referee Magazine.)

Referee Enterprises Announces New Executive Committee Structure

For Release July 17, 2015

Referee Enterprises Inc. (REI), the publisher of Referee magazine and the management company of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) today announced four appointments to the company’s top-level management team. The moves create an executive committee that will guide the company’s strategic, operations, marketing and sales endeavors.

Barry Mano was named REI’s Chief Strategy Officer and in that role will continue to guide the strategic vision of both REI and NASO. He retains his role as NASO president and publisher of Referee magazine. Mano began publishing Referee in 1976, and in 1980, he organized and created NASO.

Bill Topp was named Chief Operating Officer, primarily responsible for day-to-day operations. He was previously vice president of publishing and retains his role as executive editor of Referee. He started with REI as an editorial intern in 1990, eventually being named magazine editor in 1999. Topp has officiated football, basketball and baseball for 20 years, primarily at the high school and small college levels, including seven state championships. He has also held various leadership positions in local associations and high school conferences. Topp currently serves as secretary of NASO and is a member of the Officiating Development Alliance.

Jim Arehart was named Chief Marketing Officer, overseeing the company’s marketing, branding and public relations efforts. Arehart started with REI as an associate editor in 1997, eventually becoming Referee’s senior managing editor in 2004. In 2007, Arehart moved to the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) where he was director of publishing, focusing on communications, public relations, marketing and promotions. He returned to REI in 2010 as marketing director, promoting the company’s product line, subscriptions and memberships. Arehart is a 17-year high school football official, including two state championships.

Ken Koester was named Chief Business Development Officer, responsible for all aspects of sales, increasing partnerships and developing new business growth opportunities. Koester began his career at REI as an assistant editor in 2005, moving to the marketing/sales team in 2010 where he led REI and NASO in key strategic initiatives, including bulk sales and group NASO memberships. Koester is a 26-year basketball official, working 12 state high school championships and the 2010 NCAA Division III Final Four. He was also an on-field high school and college football official for 12 years and currently serves as a replay official for various NCAA Division I conferences. He has served a variety of local associations and camps in leadership capacities and continues to serve as the instructional chair for the Wisconsin Basketball Officials Association.

“We collaborate here at REI,” said Mano. “It is one of our special strengths. This newly formed Executive Committee bears witness to that fact. The skills, the trust and the openness the four of us share are unique, at least in my history. It is an honor to be a member of this group.”

ABOUT REI
REI is the national leader in sports officiating education, communication and industry services. The company began publishing Referee magazine in 1976 as the “voice of officiating.” Today, nearly 30,000 officials receive the magazine. Referee is written from an officiating perspective, blending editorial credibility and business viability. It educates, challenges and inspires sports officials at the youth, recreational, high school, collegiate and professional levels in all sports, with emphasis on baseball, basketball, football, soccer, volleyball and softball. Referee is the journal of record for officiating and takes informed positions on selected issues. Additionally REI produces a wide array of officiating training products, including books, DVDs, website services, digital communications and management services.

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Contact: Bill Topp
Chief Operating Officer
Referee Enterprises, Inc.
btopp@Referee.com

Baseball – Keep Him in the Box

Rules, Techniques Designed to Maintain Pace

Keep-Him-in-the-Box

By George Demetriou

An umpire who understands the necessity for managing the batters who come to the plate can avoid many problems. There are some things, though, that are outside the umpire’s control. In those cases a prudent umpire can avoid making a bad situation worse. Except where noted, the material applies equally to NFHS, NCAA and pro rules.

Managing the batter also involves managing the pitcher. There is no value in getting the batter into the box if the pitcher isn’t ready to pitch. Starting pitchers are limited to eight warmup throws. In NFHS and pro, those must be completed within one minute of the first throw, but there is no time restriction in NCAA (NFHS 6-2-2c Exc; NCAA Appendix F; pro 8.03). The batter must remain in his on-deck circle while the pitcher is warming up in NFHS and pro and cannot be within the triangle formed by the rearward extension of the first and third baselines and must be in the vicinity of the dugout in NCAA (NFHS 3-3-3; NCAA 5-2e; pro PBUC 3.5).

At the start of subsequent half innings, all warmup throws in NFHS play must be completed within one minute timed from the third out of the previous inning (6-2-2c Exc). It is rarely timed as problems are infrequent.

For NCAA play, teams are allowed 90 seconds between innings unless a television contract provides otherwise (9-2i). The pro rule states one minute, but since almost every MLB game is televised that limit is not enforced (the commercial breaks range from 2:05 to 2:25).

The batter.

When it is his turn to bat, the batter must step into the batter’s box promptly. NFHS allows the batter 20 seconds after the pitcher has the ball. Under NCAA and pro rules, no time limit is specified and it is a judgment call as to whether or not the batter has delayed. The umpire may then declare a penalty strike. NFHS and NCAA allow the strike to be called without delivery of a pitch. In pro, the umpire must direct the pitcher to deliver and each pitch is called a strike. On a third strike, the ball remains live, but the batter is out (NFHS 7-3-1 penalty; NCAA 7-1b2; pro 6.02c).

Between pitches — the pitcher.

Only high school rules have a time limit on pitches with runners on base. The pitcher has 20 seconds to pitch, make a play or a legal feint after he receives the ball. If he throws to a player other than the catcher when the batter is in the batter’s box that is intended to delay rather than make a play, he gets a warning and is ejected for a subsequent offense. In NCAA and pro, a balk may be called for any unnecessary delay such as excessive throws to a base when a runner has no lead, excessive visits with a teammate and feigning injury (NFHS 6-2-2a, c; NCAA 9-3e; pro 8.05h).

When there are no runners on base, the NFHS rule is the same as described above. NCAA umpires use a clock to enforce a 20-second limit (9-2c) in conjunction with the batter’s box rule. The 20-second count starts when the pitcher receives the ball on the mound and ends when the pitcher begins his pitching motion.

The first time a college pitcher violates the time limit, he is warned. A ball is called for any subsequent violations by that pitcher. A strike is awarded if the batter causes the delay by not being in the box ready to take the pitch when the count expires or if he was not ready within five seconds and subsequently the count expired. Anyone who argues any penalty or timing procedure is subject to ejection after a warning (9-2c AR).

Between pitches — the batter.

Once the batter is in the box, all three codes require him to keep one foot in the box through the entire at bat unless one of the following occur (NFHS 7-3-1Exc; NCAA 7-1c Exc; pro 6.02d):

• The batter swings at a pitch.

• The batter is forced out of the box by a pitch.

• The batter attempts or feints a bunt.

• The catcher does not catch the ball (NFHS only) or a wild pitch or passed ball occurs.

• The pitcher takes a position more than five feet from the rubber after receiving the ball (NFHS only) or leaves the dirt area of the mound after receiving the ball.

• The catcher leaves his position to adjust his equipment (NFHS only) or to give defensive signals.

• A play is made on a runner at any base.

• The umpire grants time.

When the batter steps out of the box without time being granted and the pitcher is delivering, NCAA and pro have similar rules — the pitch is called a ball or strike as if the batter remained in the box (NCAA 7-1b1; pro 6.02b Cmt 6).

In NFHS, such a pitch is automatically called a strike (7-3-1). If the batter steps out of the box with one foot without time being called, while the pitcher is delivering, the pitch is automatically called a strike. If he does that with both feet, two strikes are called. The first strike is for stepping out of the box and the second strike for the pitched ball, no matter where it ends up.

Finally, in all codes if the pitcher hesitates in his delivery because the batter steps out of the box with one foot, it is neither a balk nor a strike, but a “do-over.” The same applies if the batter does that with both feet except in NFHS; in that code a strike is awarded because the batter’s box rule has been violated (NFHS 6-2-4d Nt, 7-3-1; NCAA 9-3g AR; pro 6.02b Cmt 6).

Technique.

When a batter leaves the box, the umpire should verbally and visually tell the batter to return. The admonishment should be at a volume at which only he and the catcher can hear, while the visual point to him and the box should be subtle, but visible to all participants.

A penalty strike should be enforced only for delaying the game after being warned.

George Demetriou, a resident of Colorado Springs, is the current NFHS rule interpreter for the state of Colorado.

Referee Magazine(This article was published in the 04/12 issue of Referee Magazine.)

Ken Stabler’s Death Evokes Legendary ‘Holy Roller’ Play

 

The San Diego Chargers were leading the Oakland Raiders, 20-14, in a 1978 battle when, with 10 seconds left in the game, Oakland quarterback Kenny Stabler was tackled as he tried to pass and fumbled the ball forward. Raider Pete Banazak batted the ball further forward toward tight end Dave Casper, who did the same thing until the ball bounced into the end zone. Casper jumped on the ball for a touchdown. The Raiders won the game, 21-20. Referee Jerry Markbreit ruled that Stabler’s fumble had not been intentional, but Stabler later confessed that he had indeed fumbled the ball on purpose and Banazak and Casper went on record saying they helped the ball along for the score. To close the obvious loophole in the rule, the NFL added a regulation that says that in the event of any fourth-down fumble or fumble in the final two minutes of either half, only the player who actually fumbled the ball can recover it and run with it. If any other offensive player recovers the ball, he cannot advance it; the ball is declared dead and is returned to the spot of the original fumble.

View Video: Top Controversial Plays: The ‘Holy Roller’ (YouTube)

Feature – It Counts

It-Counts

Rules knowledge, mechanics and making the right calls are important. Missing any of those elements can break your career, but having them won’t make it.

Wait. What?

It’s true. They won’t set you apart. Because all officials should be studying the rules, getting in the right position to make the calls and making the right calls most of the time. Those skills are what bond most officials and make them the same.

To set yourself apart from other good officials you must have something else, something special. You need that It Factor. “It” is what assigners, supervisors and other officials are looking for from you.

In order to figure out what it is, NASO at its recent Summit brought together four individuals who have proved they have it in spades. Fox Sports analyst Mike Pereira, who previously directed the NFL officiating department and is a former NFL official, led a discussion on officiating with former MLB umpire Mike Reilly, NFL referee Gene Steratore and NBA referee Joe Crawford. On and off the field and court, those officiating icons combine for more than 100 years officiating experience.

A number of It Factors emerged from those professionals. Ask yourself if you have what it takes to reach the next level in your officiating or consistently maintain a high performance at the level you’re at.

Passion

Do you have a passion for officiating or is it just another means to a paycheck? Money is important, but passion pays off. It counts. If you’re hooked on officiating, your attitude on and off the field and court with your fellow officials shows that. You want to go to those weekly association meetings (even the long-winded ones). It never enters your mind not to stick around after the game to discuss things with your partners, because you want to get better.

For many officials, it starts with a passion for the game and develops into a passion for officiating. But for some, that passion for officiating was passed down right away.

“I got hooked on it because my dad was an official,” Pereira said. “So I started at a very young age trying to understand officiating. I learned the game through the eyes of an official.”

Crawford credits his dad, the late MLB umpire Shag Crawford, for helping him develop his passion for officiating as well.

“I was just a fortunate person,” Crawford said, “and I owe everything to that guy because it is what formed me as a referee — that passion, that love that he had for his profession.”

That makes sense to Reilly. Even though he didn’t grow up in an officiating family, he developed a passion for baseball as a player.

“My father was in business, but I have five brothers and we grew up with the love of baseball and the game itself,” Reilly said. “And once I got started and realized that I wasn’t going any further as a player, that desire to be the best official — the best umpire I could be — developed.”

That passion can carry you in officiating. You will be able to see that passion in your partners and it will grow in you as well. It’s not about getting to the highest level, according to Steratore, but rather soaking up the experience at any level.

“You learn how to officiate this game in a car in February driving on an icy road in basketball with a man who probably has been doing Division II or III basketball for 35 years because he loves it, not because he’s on TV,” Steratore said. “Not because he’s making a bunch of scratch or he’s got a nice 401K — he loves the game. He knows how to manage people.

“You’re a young kid in his car and you don’t even know who you are yet let alone interfacing with, when you progress to the college level, someone who is doing this for a living. So now you’re back to the purity of officiating and the purity of the passions. …

“Officiating in its purest sense is in that car while you pick his brain about the interface you had with that D-III coach in front of 100 people four hours away from your house. And what he said to you, how you responded back because you were young and stupid and weren’t polished enough — and he taught you about yourself indirectly. If you were really smart and paying attention, you were learning about yourself, which was a life-learning experience.”

Competition Instinct

A passion for officiating equals a passion for competition. A competitive instinct counts. It shows you want to improve. You want to be better than the veteran official working next to you. You watch the next level because you want to be good enough to reach that next level. You’re disappointed that you didn’t get that state assignment, but instead of moping, you use that “rejection” for motivation to work on your game.

“I loved the game and I love to compete,” Reilly said about baseball. “And I think as an umpire we go out every day and compete against the game to be the best. And when I say, ‘Compete against the game,’ you go out there to be perfect. And we all know as referees and umpires that’s impossible. But that’s our goal when we start that particular game — to be perfect.”

Crawford agrees.

“I want to work with those two people out there and we want to be perfect,” he said. “At the highest level we want to get this thing done, and we want to do it right.”

When you don’t do as well as you set out to do, you don’t let that bring you down. It happens to the best of the best. The key is to not let it knock you out for good. You need to get up and fight to prevent future mistakes.

“It can be consuming. It can eat you up,” Crawford said, “because this year I had a couple hiccups in a couple of the games, and you really start to question yourself a little bit, especially when you hit the old 62, and you start to say, ‘I don’t know. Joey may have a little problem here.’

“But you’ve got to fight it. You’ve just got to keep battling it, and you hope the powers that be have the confidence in you to keep putting you back there.”

Command

There are some officials who make you wonder if they will be able to handle a big game, and then there are other officials at various levels that you know will handle the game. Assigners want them on that big rivalry or championship game. Fellow officials want to work with them. Having that command counts.

“In the NFL, you’re watching a quarterback that just went through a real quick bang, bang hit,” Steratore said. “You’re not sure if it was a foul or not, it’s close as heck, and now all of a sudden there’s three whistles from 40 yards away and someone’s running to you with a foul, but you have no idea of what it was. Convey that confidence, do it the right way and annunciate it correctly.” 

Show you’re in control, and people will believe you’re in control.

“I watch referees. That’s what I do,” Crawford said. “… I don’t know anything about the NFL. I grew up in baseball, but I don’t know anything about umpiring Major League Baseball. But I’ve watched (Steratore and Reilly). They have command. That’s what they have.

“(Steratore’s) command as a referee, (Reilly’s) command behind the plate is what sold these two guys. It’s what sold (retired NBA referee) Steve Javie. The command on the court or the field — how they’re being respected. Now if you call that ‘It,’ I don’t know. But all I know is that they got it because I’ve watched them.”

If you have command, you’re a decision-maker. You don’t wait and let your crewmembers bail you out on a close play. You step up and make the call every time.

“I used to tell officials, ‘You know what? When you’re going to throw (the flag), throw,’” Pereira said. “’Make the decision — if you’re right, (or) you’re wrong. If you’re wrong, who cares? You’ll learn. But when you do something on the field, be definitive.’”

If you are definitive, Pereira said, observers will recognize and appreciate that.

“You can teach him what you want called for holding,” Pereira explained. “You can teach him what you want let go — you can teach him that. But some stuff comes naturally — that instinct, that deportment, that comportment, that physical nature of being when you’re looking at somebody.”

People Skills

How do you interact with players, coaches and your fellow officials? Your personality counts. Crawford said that he learned that concept later in his career, but he believes that being a people person is important in officiating.

“What you really got to do in my opinion is take a step back,” Crawford said. “And (the late) Darell Garretson (former NBA director of officiating) used to say to me, ‘Joey, you’ve got to get a little more of your off-court personality and put it on the court because you turn — you laugh for 22 hours, and then for two hours it’s like somebody put Satan in you.’ And I used to say to him, ‘I didn’t understand that.’”

Crawford gets it now.

“That’s what I’ve come to realize — that you have to be a people person to referee,” he said. “I didn’t say, ‘Nice guy.’ I said, ‘A people person.’ And I think that’s what I didn’t get early on because I was listening to my father who was from the ’50s and the ’60s, and they attacked all the time. That’s how they officiated; it was attack.

“And that isn’t the way of the world today. … If I could do anything from the start again, I think I’d be a little more of a people person.”

Situation Management

Along with being a people person, you need to be able to handle situations that arise. You need to rise above pressure situations and not let them consume you.

“You wonder why some of these guys don’t make it,” Reilly said, “and it’s because … they just didn’t get it. They were good at ball, strike, safe and out — they could do it. But when it came to gametime handling of situations, handling managers, handling the pressure of the game, they couldn’t do it.”

Crawford shared a story about an NBA summer league game in Orlando in which Detroit was playing. Rasheed Wallace, who often led the league in technical fouls as a player, is an assistant coach for Detroit. Tiffany Bird was one of the officials on the game. One of the other referees was an NBA referee. For their first four years in the league, NBA officials work in the summer league.

“There’s a timeout between the third and the fourth period, and I see Rasheed reeling her in,” Crawford said. “So I’m watching and I’m saying to myself, this is why we’re here. We’re going to find out whether this referee has it. So I’m watching her and I’m just sitting there going, ‘Whack him, whack him.’

“Finally Rasheed is being real nice and then, bang, he went right for the jugular. And she just put her hand right up in his face and said, ‘I’ve got enough of you.’ That lady bought me. She now became — this doesn’t have anything to do with a guy or a woman — a referee.”

Handling arguments and other situations is essential in all sports.

“In baseball, the art of arguing is a quality you have to have,” Reilly said. “So when I look for a young umpire that we’re looking for that It Factor — it’s how someone handles himself in a stressful situation in an argument. And it could be different circumstances, one where he’s 100 percent right, and the other one is 100 percent wrong, and he knows it in both cases. But how aggressive is this young umpire who’s trying to find himself?

“And it doesn’t have to be a major league umpire. It could be a high school umpire, it can be a college umpire. But how, when you get in those sh– houses, you know how to get yourself out of them. And when you’re right, you’re right, and when you’re wrong you’ve got to be right. And that’s how you’ve got to handle those things.”

Investment

Officials know the commitment it takes to officiate, but for the most part, no one else cares. And that’s OK. You know you matter to the game.

When the NFL officials returned to work last season following the games worked by replacement officials, Steratore was the referee for the first game back.

“When we went back to officiate it wasn’t about us going back or ‘Look at us,’” Steratore said. “It was about that suddenly just for a moment in time the world understood that officiating was an integral part of sporting events. No more recognition.

“Yeah, did I tip my cap. Did I tip it twice? Yes. … I got more calls driving from Washington, Pa., to Baltimore that day from NBA officials, a couple major league umpires, college basketball officials, every official from every sport called … because they felt something as an official.

“We felt appreciated, which you don’t really strive for but it overwhelms you when it occurs, because without us guys and ladies the game doesn’t happen.”

While most officials will not be elevated by such an ovation in their careers, knowing that you are important, that your fellow officials are important and that your industry is important counts. It sets you apart.

So, what is the It Factor? It’s passion, humility, confidence, integrity, presence, respect for game, command, flexibility, dedication, trustworthiness, instinct, situation management, communication, pride, investment, people skills and competition instinct.

Does that match your list? It is all of the above.

“Every one of those, each word, is what you have to do to be successful, if you think about it,” Crawford said. “Passion, desire, respect … those are the qualities you need as an official at any level.”

“It is all about how you handle yourself,” Pereira agreed. “From my standpoint … that’s what makes an official.”

You can count on it.

Julie Sternberg is Referee’s managing editor.

Referee Magazine(This feature was published in the 12/13 issue of Referee Magazine.)

Baseball – Nose to Nose

Nose-to-Nose

Fans love seeing the nose-to-nose arguments in an MLB game, such as what is going on with MLB umpire Andy Fletcher in the photo.

But that’s actually not how umpires at the college and high school levels should act. MLB umpires have a unique situation of being the same umpires who deal with the same managers and players for more than six months every year. That creates a long history and different dynamic than umpires in lower levels.

With that in mind, here are some guidelines for handling a coach-umpire or umpire-player discussion.

• Keep distance (three feet or more) between you and the player or coach. If he wants to get closer than that, simply take a step back. It will make him look like the aggressor.

• Do not adopt a confrontational stance, such as putting your hands on your hips or folding them across the chest. The best thing to do is put them behind you (but not in your back pockets)

• When possible, stand at a right angle. That forces the tone away from the nose-to-nose type discussion into more of a conversation.

• Nod your head to non-verbally acknowledge what is being said.

• Let the coach/player finish speaking before you speak. Use the time when he is starting to repeat himself or vent as your time to recall the rule or play in question and formulate your answer.

• Don’t use profanity. No supervisor or state office personnel can back you up when you swear. And without a doubt, the discussion will focus on your profanity and away from the play or ruling in question.

• Don’t try to get in the last word. It’s not a contest. Unless he delivers a personal remark that merits a warning or ejection, let him walk off.

Referee Magazine(This article was published in the 03/12 issue of Referee Magazine.)

Feature – The Ripple Effect

Officiating has undergone a number of significant changes in the last several years. Few have happened overnight, however. Instead, it’s been a steady evolution in our industry.

The-Ripple-Effect

By Rick Woelfel

Not so long ago the officiating universe consisted of an assortment of individual planets, many without clearly defined orbits.

When Referee published its first issue in January 1976, every sport had its protocol, each local association, conference or region of the country its own way of doing things.

Suffice to say the landscape looks quite different today. The officiating industry has become an interconnected network that spans the globe.

The editors at Referee took a look at the new officiating landscape and collectively identified many areas and issues that have grown or evolved through the years. They then pared the list to the most significant of those changes, those that have been made in the quest to handle the business of the ever-changing world of sports.

1. Local Association Training

Time was when a new official would be given a rulebook and a whistle, maybe pass an exam, and then as likely as not be left to go it alone. That mind-set has changed in many locales.

Today’s training methods have become increasingly sophisticated as clinicians and association leaders strive to provide newcomers with a solid knowledge base before sending them onto the field or court.

John Lozano is the instructional chair for the California Basketball Officials Association (CBOA), a position he’s held for the past eight years.

Today some 3,700 officials are on the membership rolls. The majority are in Southern California although there are chapters throughout the state and now two affiliate member chapters in Wisconsin.

Since the 1970s, the group has conducted an extensive training regimen for new officials that includes eight weeks of mandatory meetings and instruction. The instructional curriculum was first put together by Dr. Bill White, a career educator who officiated in the old Pac-8 conference.

“He collected information and formalized a training program,” Lozano says. “He was constantly adding more content to the training material.

“Initially it was a bunch of handouts. Then he was able to put things in a binder and just add more articles. He would either write them himself or gather the information through his interaction with collegiate organizations and other writers.”

Today, the CBOA has dramatically changed its methods of instruction, incorporating video and technology. The group is also reaching out and offering its training program to associations throughout the country. Two groups in Wisconsin — the Wisconsin Basketball Officials Association and the Southern Wisconsin Officials Association — are now affiliate members of the CBOA.

Even though much has changed, White’s original material is still the basis for the CBOA’s instructional program.

“It’s the meat of the training material that’s still used today, “ Lozano said. “We’re trying to get the same message to everybody.”

2. NCAA Central Hubs

It’s been nearly three decades since ArbiterSports introduced technology that changed the officiating industry forevermore.

Many readers of Referee receive their assignments through an ArbiterSports portal. But the company has become a major player in other areas as well in recent years, specifically the dissemination of information to officials working at the college level.

The NCAA purchased ArbiterSports in 2008. Since then it has created a series of information portals that provide officials with access to NCAA rule interpretations, memos, videos and other information.
There are separate portals for individual sports, among them football, baseball, softball, volleyball, wrestling and basketball.

To gain full access to the sites, officials must register with the NCAA through ArbiterSports, although some material is available to the public.

Rich Fetchiet oversees the College Baseball Umpires Alliance (CBUA) and assigns umpires for an assortment of college conferences at various levels, most of them in the Midwest. All of his umpires are registered with the NCAA.

“That allows them to take full advantage of the Central Hub site for baseball,” he says. “The testing programs, the video bulletins. All the different resources they offer.”

ArbiterSports also provides services for coordinators like Fetchiet, allowing him to set up a portal to pass information along to his umpires.

“That’s a place where I can post bulletins to our guys,” he says. “Registration information. Reminders, or information I need to get out. Reminders on dress code, behaviors, helpful hints on umpiring. What’s our uniform? What happens when you have to cancel?”

Fetchiet works with some 800 college umpires who are spread across the country. Having a website and portal helps him ensure that everyone receives the same information, regardless of the level they’re working.

“Here’s what I like about it,” Fetchiet says. “We’ve got a slew of D-II, D-III and NAIA conferences. Not ones that I assign specifically but throughout our umbrella organizations.

“Some (use) two umpires and some are three. From a standpoint of general policies and procedures and how we behave, professionalism, uniform and so on, I want everybody getting the same message.

“What the NCAA site and the CBUA site allow me to do is make sure that the guy who is working his first junior-college games this year is hearing the same information, is hearing the same philosophy, as the guy who is established in Division I.”

3. Video Technology

Four decades ago, NFL officials reviewed films of their games each week. At the time they were considered visionaries. Over time, film became videotape and DVDs, and the concept of video review was embraced by the NBA as well as officials working at the D-I level.

But most of the officiating community lacked easy access to video technology.

That’s no longer the case. Today the use of video has become commonplace and it’s become relatively easy for officials to observe and critique themselves in action.

Hector Rivero, the president of the Austin (Texas) Football Officials Association (AFOA), says he and his peers have been using video for a decade, but now it’s so much easier.

“Ten years ago, you would literally take a videotape and a self-addressed, prepaid envelope to the head coach,” he says, “and you’d beg him to please make a copy of his game tape and send it to you. Then it would be a matter of trying to get the crew together to sit down to look at the tape.

“Now, with more and more coaches having digital technology and being able to download their game tapes directly onto the Internet or their computers, (video) has really become a useful tool.”

The AFOA, along with many associations, utilizes a software package called Hudl, which was designed as an evaluation tool for coaches, athletes, and college recruiters. It’s also proven to be valuable to officials.

“It’s a great tool to show the entire chapter,” Rivero says. “The editing capability is what’s most useful to us. You have the ability to write notes on the screen and have a lot of interactivity while you’re editing. You can also stop the video and mark it during the actual presentation.

“It’s almost as if you’re writing on the screen the way John Madden did on TV.”

Individual crews can also utilize the Hudl package to hold online reviews of their work. If an official is involved in a questionable call, he might e-mail a video clip to each of his crewmates, who can review the clip and offer comments.

Hudl is also used as a training tool for new officials. The package allows instructors to highlight specific plays or a specific part of a specific play.

“You could circle a player, identify a player, make markings, and even write comments,” Rivero says. “It’s really a powerful took because they can see where they’re supposed to focus their attention.”

Rivero says video is also a useful aid when it comes to rule interpretations. Seeing plays on the screen, from various angles and with slow motion and freeze-frame capabilities, makes it easier for clinicians to promote a specific interpretation.

“It really helps classically condition the entire group of officials to have consistency,” he says, “and that’s what we want during the games.

“I cannot tell you how many clinics I’ve been at over the years where there’s been a lot of debate. …What I have seen in the last couple years with digital technology is the number of ‘Aha moments’ in a clinic when you can break it down and show it to 200 officials at the same time.

“They say ‘I get it now, this is what they mean.’”

4. Replay Review

The use of replay technology by officials might be the most significant development in the history of the industry.

In the 1970s, fans and the media clamored for the use of replay to correct perceived mistakes by officials. Today the use of replay is an everyday occurrence throughout professional and Division I levels.

And its use has expanded; FIFA recently approved the use of video technology to assist with goal-no goal calls in soccer.

Looking at the issue with 20-20 hindsight, the use of replay was probably inevitable, as telecasts of sporting events became more sophisticated.

The long-departed United States Football League was the first sports organization in America to utilize replay as an officiating tool. That was in 1985, the league’s final season.

The NFL followed suit the next year and other sports gradually got on board, albeit reluctantly at first. In fact, the NFL dropped replay after five seasons before bringing it back for good in 1999.

Today replay technology is interwoven into the fabric of big-time college and professional sports. Of course some sports are a better fit than others.

Football, with its natural breaks after each play and the standard dimensions of the playing surface, whatever the venue, is seemingly the ideal sport when it comes to replay.

On the other hand, the rhythms of a baseball game make the use of replay technology potentially more problematic. And in fact, baseball has been the sport that has been the most wary about embracing that technology.

But Matt McKendry, MLB’s director of umpire administration, notes that fans have access to that technology on their television screens; it was only a matter of time before it officially became a part of the game itself.

“Replay has made a huge impact,” he says, “but I think a needed impact due to the fact that those replays were visible to the general public. It’s hard not to respond to the improved technology and use it for the benefit of your game.”

No matter how video technology evolves in years to come however, there will always be a need for human officials and their experience and judgment. But going forward, replay will likely always be a part of the equation.

“You can’t run away from it,” McKendry says. “I don’t think it’s going to go the other way. The technology is there.”

5. Officiating Development Alliance

The Officiating Development Alliance (ODA) does much of its work behind the scenes. But it has had a significant impact in the officiating community in recent years.

Twice each year, executives from various officiating organizations, both amateur and professional, come together to exchange ideas and share their mutual concerns.

The meetings are closed to the media and public, resulting in free-flowing discussion. Terry Gregson, the former NHL director of officiating, says the setting encourages interaction and camaraderie.

“We kind of have a think tank,” Gregson says. “It’s a time to bounce ideas off of each other.”

Gregson, who’s been active in the ODA for the past several years, says the members of the group are in effect a support network for one another.

“What is good is sometimes you work in your own little bubble,” he says, “and you think you’re the only one with the problems and the challenges that are facing you. Then you listen to somebody from lacrosse or somebody from volleyball or somebody from soccer, whatever the case may be, and you hear they’re having the same challenges you’re having.

“You’re with a group of people who understand officiating the way you do, which is kind of a rare bird. You get a chance to talk your own language without explanations and sometimes you don’t have to say a lot to get a big message across.”

It’s not uncommon for ODA participants to take an innovation originated with another entity and adapt it for their own organization.

“We have video in what we call our War Room,” Gregson says, “and a few different leagues have reached out to us to find out how it operates. I’ve had the directors of officiating from several organizations up to my office to see how it functions.”

The ODA discusses areas such as recruiting and retention as well.

Gregson notes that the task of finding, training and bringing along young officials has become more problematic than ever. He says it’s important that young officials be properly trained and, most importantly, receive the necessary support, whatever their sport.

“A 15-year-old kid puts on a referee sweater and goes out on the ice and everyone expects him to be the expert,” Gregson says. “I talk to associations all the time and tell them you should give all your kids, whether it’s just a scrimmage or a practice, the chance to give officiating a try.

“And I’m a big advocate of organizations that have a mentorship program. It does no good to push a kid out on the field or ice and tell them, ‘Here’s a rulebook. Apply all the rules.’”

6. The Official as Analyst

When Mike Pereira, the NFL’s longtime former director of officiating, signed on as an analyst with Fox Sports, there were some raised eyebrows and more than a few skeptics.

Pereira is not the first ex-official to end up in the broadcast booth. Ex-MLB umpire Ron Luciano did some work for NBC following his retirement and Bill Chadwick had a 14-year career as a broadcaster for hockey’s New York Rangers, following a Hall of Fame career as an NHL referee.

But Luciano and Chadwick were cast as traditional color men.

Pereira’s role was a new one entirely: the official as analyst.

Some critics felt he would be less an analyst than an advocate for the league’s officiating staff.

Meanwhile, the men who once worked for Pereira had their own concerns.

“I think they were suspect of the network, not me,” Pereira says. “I think they viewed the network, any network, as an entity that likes to be controversial. I think they were concerned that I was going to end up as somewhat of a puppet for Fox.”

But Pereira won over his critics, the credible ones at any rate, through a blend of candor and thoughtful analysis.

In the same manner that former coaches and players offer their views from the broadcast booth, Pereira studies the third team on the field.

The doors that Pereira opened have been taken advantage of by several others: Retired NBA referee Steve Javie and retired NFL referee Gerald Austin both work for ESPN in similar roles. ESPN also uses officiating coordinators during its bowl coverage. And networks have consulted John Adams, NCAA national coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, especially during tournament time.

In the end, each is charged with the task of teaching the audience about the finer points of the profession.

“We’re using these positions to educate the fans about what’s going on,” Pereira says. “It’s hard to turn officiating into a positive but we can at least give people a greater understanding of what officiating is about.”

Pereira’s own role is expanding. He now does a column on the Fox Sports website and is part of two studio shows on Fox’s new sports cable network. Pereira sees all this as part of a trend.

“We represent a faction that hasn’t been represented before,” he says “I think you’ll see more networks reaching out to people like myself to try to get this view that they haven’t gotten before.”

7. Pros Step Up Training

Baseball is a sport steeped in tradition. Through the years that tradition has extended to the way aspiring umpires are trained.

Several hundred candidates enroll at an umpire school each winter. A small percentage are offered jobs in the minor leagues and perhaps spend years chasing their dream. In the end only a few from each class will work a major league game.

The first umpire school was launched in 1935 by NL umpire George Barr and for more than three quarters of a century, the protocol for training minor-league umpires was relatively unchanged.

But in recent years the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation (PBUC), which oversees all minor league umpires, has taken a hands-on approach to training them. Today PBUC operates its own umpire school in Vero Beach, Fla.

Justin Klemm, executive director of both PBUC and The Umpire School, noted the organization considered launching a school for some years and when the old Dodgertown facility became available, the time seemed right. The first session was held in January 2012. A total of 38 students attended the four-week program.

“We teach them how to manage people, work under pressure, and diffuse conflicts,” Klemm says. “Ninety-eight percent of them will go into some other profession but I want them to look back proudly at the time they spent here.”

Other leagues have also adopted their own means of development. The NBA has used the D-League as a development league for officials as well as players for a long time, but in recent years it brings up a small cadre of officials who work early regular-season games. And the NFL this past preseason brought a staff of development officials into training camps and let them work alongside staff members during the preseason games.

8. Regionalization

Time was when most officials stayed close to home, even at the D-I level. There were split-crew games from time to time of course, but for the most part Eastern officials stayed on the East Coast, while their colleagues in the South or the Midwest worked in their respective territories.
When it comes to D-I football and basketball those days are gone.

Even before the era of the “superconference,” officiating coordinators, particularly those overseeing multiple conferences, were searching far and wide for the top talent without regard to geographic boundaries.

Bill Carollo is the coordinator of football officials for the College Officiating Consortium (COC), which encompasses the Big Ten, and the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in the FBS, the Missouri Valley Football Conference and the Pioneer League in the FCS, plus four Division III conferences.

The arrangement offers a number of advantages. Officials working in the affiliated conferences are hearing one voice when it comes to policies, procedures and training.

Carollo spent two decades in the NFL himself and a number of active and retired NFL officials work for him as position trainers. Perhaps most importantly, Carollo and his associates and spot good prospects and get them ‘into the pipeline’ relatively quickly.

“We can identify someone at the D-III level,” Carollo says, “or at a lower level of D-I. They’re in the program and we just keep moving them.

“Next year we give them two games in the MAC, the year after that give them a full schedule, and three years later they’re going to be in the Big Ten.

“In the past you’d have to impress a whole different group of people. Maybe your supervisor liked you but another supervisor would be getting more people from Chicago than from Pittsburgh. It was a lot harder to move around.”

Today officials working at the collegiate level are traveling more than ever, a trend that is likely to continue.

Going forward, the era of an official working collegiate and high-school schedules simultaneously may be a thing of the past.

Carollo for one seems to think that’s the case, particularly in football.

“They can probably do D-III and still do high school,” he says. “We don’t require them to be in the night before. But in all of Division I, they have to be in the night before and they have to do a pregame.

“It costs my conferences more money. We have to give (officials)  a little more expense money to get them to come in early. But the coaches and the athletic directors and the commissioners expect us to be prepared.”

If things had stayed the same over the years since Referee published its first issue, those of us in the industry would be way behind. The reality is, the world is moving forward, and everything — including officiating — is moving with it.

Rick Woelfel is a freelance writer from Philadelphia. He is also a baseball and softball umpire.

Referee Magazine(This feature was published in the 12/13 issue of Referee Magazine.)

Baseball – ‘Got Him in the Box!’

Batted Balls Off the Foot Require Slow Timing, Luck

Got-Him-in-the-Box

By Jon Bible

The opening game of the 2011 MLB World Series featured what my former football supervisor, Tim Millis, calls a funk-Jon play — one of those awful ones in which something goofy happens in the blink of an eye, but you don’t have all of the pieces of the puzzle so you don’t know exactly what happened. According to TV replays — and it took one after another, angle after angle, in high definition and slow motion to tell — a batted ball barely nicked the batter’s foot and rolled into fair territory, where the defense played it for an out. Because none of the umpires could tell that the ball hit off the foot, the play stood as called.

That play is akin to one involving a pitch that is so close to the batter that it is virtually impossible to tell if it grazed him or not. But it’s even more of a nightmare because unlike the pitch play, which happens in front of us, it involves the batter’s foot (or lower leg), meaning we are often going to be obscured by the catcher (and maybe the batter as well depending on the stance he takes) no matter how high we work. All we know is the batter swung and the ball ended up in fair territory; what happened in between is a mystery. The only thing we can do is to resort to circumstantial evidence and deductive reasoning. Hopefully if we can identify two-plus-two and put them together, we will come up with four.

As a sidelight, in my first year in pro ball (1970), an analogous situation resulted in one of the worst calls (or, more correctly, no-calls) of my career, before or since. With a runner on first, the batter squared to bunt. The pitch came inside and the next thing I knew the ball was in front of the plate. How it got there I hadn’t a clue. It turned out that the batted ball had hit off the catcher’s shinguard and then rolled toward the pitcher. How that happened I also haven’t a clue. But I was pretty green then and anything was possible.

Although there were all sorts of telltale signs that should have pointed me to the right result (the batter didn’t immediately run and the pitcher, who fielded it, started to walk back to the mound), when the defense finally yelled to him to throw the ball to second, a double play resulted. For whatever reason I can’t recall now, my partner couldn’t help me, so we had to eat it. Oddly, no one got ejected. I think everyone was so stunned at how badly I screwed up that they could not muster enough energy to get tossed.

In the foul ball situation, the first question is whether the batter or the ball behaved any differently than they usually do. If the batter runs immediately, with no hesitation and if the ball comes out with some bounce to it, like a normally batted ball does, there is no reason to think anything is amiss. And almost always, there won’t be, although it is conceivable that a batted ball could glance off a batter’s foot without the batter’s or ball’s subsequent action indicating that; in that case, there’s nothing we can do. But if the batter hesitates and/or the ball doesn’t have the usual hop that a batted ball does, warning bells should go off.

Key number one in that situation is not to be too quick to do anything. That is where slow timing is important; as the old saying goes, “It ain’t nuthin’ until we call it,” so stand there for a couple of seconds, watch and process what happens and then sell the hell out of whatever you come up with. If you go with clean hit, react as you usually would — start trailing the runner toward first or whatever the runner combination calls for. If you go with foul ball, yell, “Foul! Foul! It hit him in the box!” and point emphatically toward the ground two or three times like you’re 100 percent sure. You know you’re not, but you can’t let them think that or they will crucify you. The best defense is a good offense.

First, watch the batter. If he immediately starts wallowing around like a stuck pig, grimacing and shaking his foot, it doesn’t require Sherlock Holmes to tell you foul ball is the best call. Maybe the ball didn’t hit him, but especially at the non-professional levels it is almost certain that no batter is adept enough to instantaneously begin a stellar performance based on a lie. So foul ball may not be the right call — it probably will be — but it is the safe one and people will buy it because there is good circumstantial evidence that is what happened.

Sometimes, however, the ball just nicks the batter’s foot and he doesn’t know it hit him, so he shoots right out of the box toward first as if nothing is amiss. No help there. What we have is a batted ball that went straight down, could have hit the batter and rolled in front of the plate and a runner acting like everything is hunky-dory. So the next thing to consider is how the ball came out. If it rolls flatly and hugs the ground, like someone tossed it underhanded, that’s good evidence that it hit the batter’s foot, because a ball that is normally hit will have some hop to it.

Obviously, to call foul then is to gamble, because the batter’s action in running to first without hesitation tells you he didn’t think he got hit. So you should call foul only if the path and trajectory of the ball are so clearly different from those of a normally hit ball that the only reasonable explanation is that it hit something other than dirt. You have to know that you know that it isn’t how a batted ball usually rolls before you call foul because it is, in my book, better to let the play go even if it really was foul than it is to make what turns out to be a phantom foul call.

Watching how the ball rolls is also useful when the batter does something in between nothing and acting like he has been shot. Sometimes he will hesitate briefly but then run because he’s not sure if he got hit or he’s not confident that the umpire will think so. That in-between thing is not enough to make me as the plate umpire go with a foul call, because maybe he didn’t get hit but just stumbled. But if the ball also comes out skimming the ground, that two-plus-the-other-two (batter’s hesitation) equals four (foul ball).

In a 1957 World Series game, plate umpire Augie Donatelli awarded Nippy Jones first base after he saw some black shoe polish on the ball. But in amateur ball we use the same ball far more than they do in the major leagues, so we can’t really know when a ball got smudged or what caused it. So that avenue is unlikely to be helpful to us in terms of providing meaningful circumstantial evidence.

What should the base umpire(s) do? That is one of those situations in which reasonable minds can differ, but I believe that “nothing” is almost always the right answer.

More than once I’ve seen top-notch umpires kill a play from first base when I knew, or was later told, that the ball didn’t come near hitting the batter. One time at the University of Texas that happened in a four-umpire crew. As a result Texas didn’t get its home-to-first, inning-ending double play, but did end up with two ejections.

The only situation in which I will intervene from the bases is if, based on how the ball rolls as described above, it is absolutely apparent it was not a normally batted ball and the only explanation is that it hit the batter’s foot or leg. Hopefully the plate umpire will read the play the same way and kill it before I do, but if he lets the play go and I am 100 percent sure it was foul — not 99 percent — I will kill it. If the plate umpire does nothing, the batter runs and the ball doesn’t roll in an unusual way, I’m not going to stop play, even if I sense that something is not right. There is just not enough circumstantial evidence to do so.

As for whether a plate umpire should honor a coach’s request to ask his partner(s) — and that is another instance in which I know I will get disagreement — I say the answer is no. First, we obviously can’t ask for help if we kill the play, because we can’t undo that; instead, we can seek help only if we let the play proceed. But I think that is one of those cases — like a hit batsman, which I’ve argued in these pages a plate umpire should not seek help — in which the plate umpire has to own the call and not dump it on his partners who are much farther away from the play than he is and certainly are in no better position to know if the ball actually hit the foot.

As noted, if the facts convince them 100 percent that the ball was foul, they should kill the play on the spot; otherwise, they should not intervene. And so my answer to the coach will simply be, “Coach, if he (or they) had the ball hitting the batter, they would already have killed the play.”

He won’t be happy, but too bad. And I firmly believe we should never ask for help just to pacify a coach, but should instead do so only if we think we might be missing some piece of the puzzle that our partner(s) might be able to supply.

Whether a batted ball nicked the batter’s foot is one of those times when, without benefit of replay, we may never be sure of what happened. In such cases, it is hoped deliberate timing and circumstantial evidence will get us to the right place. First, what did the batter do; second, what did the ball do? If, based on that evidence, we’re not 100 percent sure the play should be killed, we should let it continue. We should not compound the chances of a royal screw-up by having base umpires kill plays when the plate umpire didn’t unless they are positive the ball was foul. And we shouldn’t make ourselves look worse than we already do by not calling the play foul initially, then huddling up at a coach’s request and announcing that we’re sure the ball was foul when we obviously didn’t have that certainty at the outset. I couldn’t even get my wife to buy that if I was trying to sell it and (generally speaking) she’s a lot more inclined to agree with me than coaches are.

Jon Bible, Austin, Texas, is a veteran umpire who has worked six NCAA Division I College World Series.

Referee Magazine(This article was published in the 02/12 issue of Referee Magazine.)

Basketball – Two-Minute Workout

Athletic-man-running-with-music

Here is an example of a two-minute basketball-specific sequence, mentioned in the 7/15 issue of Referee, that you could incorporate in your workout routine:

• Start on the endline and sprint down the court to the opposite trail position.

• Initiate a closely guarded count.

• At four seconds indicate a three-point attempt and score the goal.

• Sprint back to the opposite endline as the new lead.

• Move to close down.

• Initiate a rotation.

• Sprint to opposite trail position.

• Initiate a closely guarded count.

• At four seconds indicate three-point attempt.

• Score the goal.

• Sprint to opposite endline.

• Move to close down.

• Initiate a rotation.

• Sprint to opposite trail position.

• Rotate to the center position.

• Indicate a three-point attempt.

• Score the goal.

• Sprint to opposite center position.

• Indicate a three-point attempt.

• Score the goal.

Try to complete that cycle in less than two minutes. Don’t wait. Do it now.

June 2015 Officiating In Perspective with Barry Mano

Rolling Stone Gathers Moss

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